Virtual reality conjures up historic Egyptian temple complex

May 1st, 2009 - 1:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 1 (IANS) A team of Egyptologists, digital modellers and web designers have been building a 3-D virtual-reality model of the ancient Egyptian religious site known as Karnak, one of the largest temple complexes ever constructed.
The result of the two years of the joint effort is Digital Karnak. This is a high-tech model that runs in real time and allows users to navigate 2,000 years of history at the popular ancient Egyptian tourist site near modern-day Luxor.

Generations of pharaohs (Egyptian rulers) constructed temples, chapels, obelisks, sphinxes, shrines and other sacred structures at the site, beginning in the 20th century BC.

Developed by University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Experiential Technologies Centre (ETC), it has helped pioneer the digital reconstruction of historical sites, including the innovative Rome Reborn, released in 2006.

“The Digital Karnak project builds upon UCLA’s expertise merging research and multi-dimensional technologies to inform and preserve knowledge about historic sites,” said project director Diane Favro, professor of architecture at UCLA.

“This learning platform allows educators and researchers to geo-temporally situate information and thus visualize and interrogate the evolution of Karnak over 2,000 years,” said Favro.

In recent years, scientists, historians and archaeologists around the world have embraced the 3-D modelling of cultural heritage sites.

Information technology has permitted them to recreate buildings and monuments that no longer exist or to digitally restore sites that have been damaged by the passage of time.

The results can be used both in research, to test new theories, and in teaching, to take students on virtual tours of historical sites they are studying, said an UCLA release.

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